Achakzai warns against ‘treating Pakhtuns like Afghan nationals’

Published October 5, 2015
PkMAP chief Mahmood Khan Achakzai and party activists stage a protest outside National Press Club on Sunday. — White Star
PkMAP chief Mahmood Khan Achakzai and party activists stage a protest outside National Press Club on Sunday. — White Star

ISLAMABAD: Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) chief Mahmood Khan Achakzai on Sunday said the government should not treat 30 million Pakhtuns like Afghan nationals and stop operations to displace them from Punjab and AJK.

Addressing a large number of people gathered outside the National Press Club to protest against the cancellation of 100,000 CNICs of the Pakhtuns and their forced displacement from Punjab and AJK, Mr Achakzai said Pakistan was in a state of war and Pakhtuns had rendered sacrifices for the country.

Protesters say 100,000 Pakhtuns are being asked to leave Punjab and AJK after their CNICs were blocked

“Hundreds of thousands of Pakhtuns were displayed because of the operation against terrorism. Only two per cent of the Mehsud tribe was impressed with Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) but all the Mehsuds were displaced from Fata,” he said.

Now Pakhtuns are being evicted from Punjab and AJK though they have property worth billions of rupees in these areas. According to reports, 80,000 CNICs of Pakhtuns have been blocked in Punjab alone, he said.

“We don’t want to legalise the Afghans but the government should stop treating Pakhtuns as the second class citizens. They came from Afghanistan before 1947 and should be treated as Pakistanis,” he said.

Mr Achakzai said his forefathers also belonged to Afghanistan but his father was born in India in 1906. “I was born in Pakistan so it is unfair to treat people like me as Afghans.”

Senator Usman Khan Kakar said Pakhtuns were being deprived of their CNICs all over the country and forced to leave the provinces.

“We have equal right to live all over the country. In Punjab, an operation has been launched against the Pakhtuns and they are being arrested and their children not allowed to take admission in schools. In AJK, 600 shops owned by Pakhtuns are being closed.”

“Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif should not follow the MQM which tried to force the Pakhtuns to leave Karachi,” he said.

Member of the PkMAP executive body Islamabad Dr Ghulam Sarwar Mandokhel told Dawn that 250,000 CNICs had been blocked and over 30,000 cancelled all over the country.

“Today, it has become impossible to live without the CNIC. Because of the blocked CNICs, people cannot open bank accounts, make passports and do any business. Some people have stuck abroad because their passports cannot be renewed,” he said.

“Last week, 119 people were arrested in Chakwal. A majority of them belonged to Punjab but just like the name of the interior minister, they had the suffix of the word ‘Khan,” he said.

Said Jan, who came from Dhadial in AJK said the district administration of Mirpur had closed his cloth shop and instructed him to leave.

“I have been living there for decades. I applied for the CNIC in 2003 and after a long investigation was issued the card in 2007. However, in 2012, when I applied for ‘Form B’ to admit my child to the government school, I was told that my CNIC had been blocked because I was Afghan,” he said.

“There are many people who have certificates that their fathers participated in the freedom war of 1948 in which areas of the AJK were liberated. But now they have been declared Afghans and are being asked to leave the area,” he said.

The protesters chanted slogans against Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan and the governments of Punjab and AJK.

Published in Dawn, October 5th, 2015

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